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					Theories of Personality

   Chapter 13
Measuring Personality
   Genetic influences on personality
   Environmental influences on personality
   Cultural influences on personality
   Psychodynamic influences on personality
   The inner experience
Defining Personality and Traits.
   Personality
       Distinctive and relatively stable pattern of
        behaviours, thoughts, motives, and emotions
        that characterizes an individual throughout
   Trait
       A characteristic of an individual, describing a
        habitual way of behaving, thinking, and
    Projective Tests
   Projective tests
       Based on the assumption that the test taker
        will transfer (“project”) unconscious
        conflicts and motives onto an ambiguous
       Examples include the Thematic
        Apperception Test and the Rorschach
Thematic Apperception Test
   Person is asked to tell a
    story about the “hero”
    in the picture
       Another projective test
   Based on Murray’s
    personality theory
       People are
        distinguished by the
        needs that motivate
        their behaviour
    The Rorschach Inkblot Test
   Ambiguous stimuli
   Person is asked to
    report what they see
   This type of test is
    called projective
        No clear image, so
         the things you see
         must be “projected”
         from inside yourself   Sample Rorschach Card
Objective Tests
   Standardized questionnaires requiring
    written responses; typically include scales
    on which people rate themselves:
       ‘I am easily embarrassed’ T or F
       ‘I like to go to parties’ T or F
   More reliability and validity than projective
   Better at predicting behaviour.
   Factor analysis:
       A statistical method for analysing the
        intercorrelations among various measures or
        test scores; clusters of measures or scores that
        are highly correlated are assumed to measure
        the same underlying trait or ability (factor).
       Example: Cattel’s 16 Personality Factors (PF)
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
    Most widely used personality instrument
        Now the MMPI - 2
    Clinical & Employment settings
    Measures aspects of personality that, if
     extreme, suggest a problem
        e.g., extreme suspiciousness
    Long test - 567 questions
    Characteristics of the MMPI-2
   Has several different scales (multiphasic)
   Scales thought to measure different kinds
    of psychological disorders
       e.g., depression
   Scale scores indicate how you compare
    with others
   Overall assessment is interpretive
       From inspecting profile of different scales
MMPI Score Profile
MMPI Validity Scales
   Four scales designed to determine whether
    respondent is presenting self accurately.
   Example: L scale (‘Fake Good’) - Trying
    too hard to present self in a positive light.
       “I smile at everyone I meet” (T)
       “I read every editorial every day” (T)
    MMPI Sample Items
   I usually feel that life is worthwhile and
       Depression
   Evil people are trying to influence my mind
       Paranoia
   I seem to hear things that other people
    can’t hear
       Schizophrenia
“Big Five” Personality Dimensions
      Extroversion
      Neuroticism
      Agreeableness
      Conscientiousness
      Openness to experience
“Big Five” Personality Dimensions
      The Big Five have emerged as distinct,
       central personality dimensions in many
       countries around the world.
      Are stable over a lifetime.
      Some argue it is incomplete; other
       important dimensions (e.g., religiosity) are
      Others (Eysenck) argue for only 3 factors.
Genetic Influences on Personality
   Heredity and temperament
   Heredity and traits
    Genetic Influences on Personality
   123 pairs of identical twins
    and 127 pairs of fraternal
   Measured on “Big Five”
    personality dimensions
   Results suggest that
    personality differences in
    the population are 40 - 50%
    genetically determined.
Heredity and Temperament
   Temperaments
       Physiological dispositions to respond to the
        environment in certain ways.
       Present in infancy and assumed to be innate.
       Includes:
         Reactivity
         Soothability

         Positive and Negative Emotionality

       Temperaments are relatively stable over time.
    Heredity and Traits
   Heritability
     A statistical estimate of the proportion of the total
       variance in some trait that is attributable to genetic
       differences among individuals within a group.
     Heritability of personality traits is about 50%.
            Within a group of people, about 50% of the variation
             associated with a given trait is attributable to genetic
             differences among individuals in the group.
        Genetic predisposition is not genetic inevitability.
Environmental Influences on
    The power of parents
    The power of peers
    Situations and circumstances
    The Power of Parents
   The shared environment of the home has little
    influence on personality.
      The nonshared environment is a more
         important influence.
   Few parents have a single child-rearing style that is
    consistent over time and that they use with all
   Even when parents try to be consistent in the way
    they treat their children, there may be little relation
    between what they do and how their children turn
The Power of Peers
   Adolescent culture includes different peer
    groups organized by different interests.
   Peer acceptance is so important to children
    and adolescents that being bullied,
    victimized or rejected by peers is far more
    traumatic that punitive treatment by
Situations and Circumstances
   People routinely reveal all of the big five traits in
    their everyday behaviour.
   Why are there variations in individual
    expressions of traits?
   Depending on context, some behaviours are
    rewarded and others are not.
   Reciprocal determinism
       In social-cognitive theories, the two way interaction
        between aspects of the environment and aspects of
        the individual in the shaping of personality traits.
Cultural Influences on Personality
   Culture, values and traits
   Customs in context
   Aggressiveness and altruism
    Culture, Values, and Traits
   Culture
       A program of shared rules that govern the
        behaviour of members of a community or
        society, and
       a set of values, beliefs and attitudes shared by
        most members of that community.
    Culture, Values, and Traits
   Individualist cultures
        Cultures in which the self is regarded as
         autonomous, and individual goals and wishes
         are prized above duty and relations with others.
   Collectivist cultures
        Cultures in which the self is regarded as
         embedded in relationships, and harmony with
         one’s group is prized above individual goals
         and wishes.
    Customs in Context
   When culture isn’t appropriately considered,
    people attribute unusual behaviour to personality.
   Examples include bathing and tardiness.
        Monochronic cultures
            Time is ordered sequentially, schedules and deadlines valued
             over people.
        Polychronic cultures
            Time is ordered horizontally, people valued over schedules
             and deadline.
   Considerable cross-cultural evidence
    suggests that male aggression results more
    from cultural factors than biological ones.
   In cultures in which competition for
    resources is fierce and survival is difficult,
    men are “toughened up” and pushed to take
   Culture also strong influence on moral
    behaviour. American children were less
    likely to be altruistic when compared with
    children from Kenya, India, Mexico, the
    Phillipines and Okinawa.
Psychodynamic Influences on
    Defining key terms
    Freud and psychoanalysis
    Other psychodynamic approaches
Key terms
   Psychodynamic theories
       Explain behaviour and personality in terms of
        unconscious energy dynamics within the
   Psychoanalysis
       A theory of personality and method of
        psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud.
       Emphasize unconscious motives and
    The Structure of Personality
   Id: Operates according to
    the pleasure principle
        Primitive and unconscious
         part of personality
   Ego: Operates according to
    the reality principle
        Mediates between id and
   Superego: Moral ideals and
Defense Mechanisms
   Repression
   Projection
   Displacement
   Reaction formation
   Regression
   Denial
    The Development of Personality
   Freud’s stages
      Oral
      Anal
      Phallic
      Latency period
      Genital
   Fixation occurs when stages aren’t resolved
Other Psychodynamic Approaches
    Jungian Theory
        Collective unconscious
          The universal memories, symbols, and experiences
           of humankind,
          represented in the archetypes or universal
           symbolic images that appear in myths, art, stories,
           and dreams.
        2 important archetypes are maleness and
         femaleness which he believed existed in both
Other Psychodynamic Approaches
   The Object-Relations School
       Emphasizes the importance of the infants first
        two years of life and the baby’s formative
        relationships, especially with the mother.
   Emphasized children’s needs for a
    powerful mother and to be in relationships.
Evaluating Psychodynamic Theories
     Three scientific failings
         Violating the principle of falsifiability.
         Drawing universal principles from the
          experiences of a few atypical patients.
         Basing theories of personality development
          on retrospective accounts and the fallible
          memories of patients.
The Humanistic Approach
   Abraham Maslow
   Carl Rogers
   Rollo May
   Evaluating Humanists
Abraham Maslow
   Humanist psychology
       An approach that emphasizes personal
        growth, resilience, and the achievement of
        human potential.
   For Maslow, personality development can
    be viewed as a gradual progression toward
    self-actualization - achieving one’s full
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs




Carl Rogers
   Unconditional Positive Regard
       Love or support given to another person with
        no conditions attached.
   Conditional Positive Regard
       A situation in which the acceptance and love
        one receives from significant others is
        contingent upon one’s behaviour.
Carl Rogers’ Personality Theory

   The needs for self-actualization and positive
    regard create a potential for conflict.
Rollo May
   Shared with humanists the belief in free
    will and freedom of choice but also
    emphasized loneliness, anxiety and
   Extistentialism
       Free will confers on us responsibility for our
Evaluating Humanists
   Hard to operationally define many of the
   Have added balance to the study of personality.
   The approach has encouraged others to focus on
    “positive psychology.”
   The argument that we have the power to choose
    our own destiny has fostered a new appreciation
    for resilience.

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